New Film Addresses Faith-Based Questions
by Phil Boatwright

If God exists, how come there’s so much evil in the world?  And if there is a God, is Jesus the only way to Him?  In The Case for Faith, journalist Lee Strobel investigates two of the most emotional objections to Christianity, and with this new DVD the minister/author generates a thought-provoking, emotionally-rewarding tool for Believer and seeker alike.

Lionsgate Films has just released this new resource on DVD.  And if you watch it, I’m sure you feel as I do that this is one of the best teaching discs you can have in your home video library.  Well, doesn’t that sound like a commercial?  Nope, I don’t own stock in the company and so far no studio has said “We’ll pay you this to say that.”  My support stems from the fact that while a great many educational films are sent to me, few have stimulated my thought process or moved my emotions quite like this production.

Josh McDowell first examined similar subjects back in the 1970s.  McDowell was also a nonbeliever who wanted to expose Christ as a false god and Christianity as little more than an opiate for the masses.  However, his detective work led him to the conclusion that not only did Jesus walk this Earth, he mastered it.  With books such as Evidence That Demands A Verdict and He Walked Among Us, McDowell forced skeptics to take a more in-depth look at the Man from Galilee.  Now journalist Lee Strobel, a friend of McDowell’s and a one-time atheist himself, presents a well-structured, moving follow-up argument for the sovereignty of our Lord Jesus.

Having received a Master of Studies in Law degree from Yale Law School, Lee Strobel became an award-winning journalist at the Chicago Tribune.  In subsequent years, the former spiritual skeptic became a pastor at Willow Creek Community Church near Chicago, then moved to California where he helped Rick Warren in building the Saddleback ministry.  Now a fulltime author, Strobel presents his case with the judicial reasoning of a Perry Mason.  He also wisely includes the emotional testimonies of several laymen and ministers who have triumphed over serious questions of faith.  Among them is Joni Eareckson Tada, founder of Joni and Friends, an organization that celebrates Christian ministry in the disability community.

I’ve heard Ms. Tada on several occasions and have been blessed by her personal testimony.  But in this production, we get to share a special moment with this artist/minister/sister-in-the-Lord.  At one point I felt in the presence of an angelic being.  Not that she would allow such a definition of herself, but I sensed the Holy Spirit upon her as she revealed a compassion through adversity that only comes from trusting – and knowing – our Heavenly Father.  Among the many other uplifting moments, we hear a father give a testimony that will aid anyone who has lost a child.  It’s likely to be the most spiritually rewarding movie-watching moment you’ll have this year.  It was for me.

Playing devil’s advocate, I presented the following to Mr. Strobel during a phone interview:  We base our belief that Jesus is the one and only true path to God via Christ’s statement in John 14:6 “No one comes to the Father except through me.”  Could that be interpreted to mean that people of other religions will realize who Christ is when they first see Him in Heaven and have a chance to accept Him at that time?

“No, I don’t think so,” said Strobel.  “In Hebrews we’re told that we are appointed once to die and then the judgment.  That statement would indicate that there’s no hope for some kind of experience after death.  At least I don’t have a confidence that there may be such a possibility.  You see, this wasn’t just some statement from out of a box.  It really flowed out of Jesus’ entire life.  If there were other ways, why would Christ have gone to the cross?  It’s a difficult teaching, but I think that question comes from this one, did Jesus claim to be divine?  And did He prove it by returning from the dead?”

This new DVD from Lionsgate features extras, including two featurettes, Dealing with Doubt and The Least of These: The Christian’s Response to Evil and Suffering.  Discussing the DVD bonuses, Lee was especially excited about the featurette devoted to the query, “Is it okay to have doubt when you’re a Christian?”

“It’s very liberating to recognize that nobody who came to Jesus in the New Testament escaped that conundrum.  If anybody should have known who Jesus was, for example, it was John the Baptist.  But when he got thrown into jail, suddenly doubts started coming into his head.  He had his followers go to Jesus and ask if He was the one they’ve been waiting for.  But Jesus didn’t get mad at him.  He just tells them to go back and report what they’ve seen.  This doesn’t poison John in Jesus’ eyes, because he has the temerity to ask that question.  And I think the lesson for us is that when we hold in our doubts, when we refuse to discuss them with other people, they begin to take on a life of their own.

Strobel concludes, “I think people are afraid to talk about their uncertainties for fear that they’ll be seen as having weak faith.  That’s when doubts can damage our faith.  The best thing we can do is be honest and talk about it.” 

Along with the featurettes, there’s a reference library, additional study resources from Lee Strobel and musical excerpts from the original score.

This is a DVD I will be showing to friends and family.  If you have a DVD library, The Case For Faith should be in it.